Day Trips in Rarotonga

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Day trips from Rarotonga are going to be either a bit more expensive or a bit longer than your typical excursion, being as the Cook Islands are far enough apart to warrant planes or long boat trips. Still, if you have the time it's definitely worth the extra effort to get out to the other islands for a day or even a few days.


Air Rarotonga offers regular flights from Rarotonga, but one of their best deals is their day tour to Aitutaki. You will be picked up from your hotel on Rarotonga to catch the 8 a.m. flight to Aitutaki, where you will enjoy an hour tour around the island to explore and pick up souvenirs. From there you'll board a boat for a cruise out to Aitutaki Lagoon for snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear waters. Your snorkel gear and towels will be provided. A barbecue lunch will be cooked for you right on the boat, and then you'll head back in to fly back to Rarotonga, arriving at 5:30 p.m. and catching the transfer back to your hotel. The total price for this tour is NZD430, all inclusive. If you'd rather plan the day yourself, you can catch one of the frequent planes to Aitutaki and return at your leisure. There is a ferry between the two islands, but it travels only occasionally and takes nearly an entire day to get one way.


Uninhabited Manuae is best known for its fishing, diving and other water recreations. It's important to note that the sands around the lagoon shift frequently, so it may be best to avoid if you're uncertain in the water. You can travel to Manuae aboard the Bounty Bay research vessel. The crew are all conservationists who are happy to take people out on eco-friendly tours. Trips are usually about USD250 per day, including all equipment for things like diving and camping. If you have a large group, you can charter the entire boat for USD1900 per day. There are also one to three week long trips that include multiple islands and adventures for between USD1000 and USD4000.


Flights go from both Rarotonga and Aitutaki regularly (excluding Sundays) and take about 45 minutes from Rarotonga. On Atiu you can sample the famous local coffee and pineapples or go out bird watching to catch a glimpse of the vibrantly colored Rimatara Lorikeet (Kura, in the local dialect). Atiu also has plenty of caves for exploring, and you can't leave without picking up one of the Tivaivai, beautiful blankets made with the traditional quilting and embroidery techniques. Flights are about NZD170 round trip.

November 25, 2009 new by tiffanymparker

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